Funded by Gates‘ Breakthrough Energy Coalition and InnovFin, Bill Gates and the European Commission are setting up a new EUR 100 million fund. The aim is to fuel renewable energy growth, push ultra low-cost solar and to find new technologies and energy storage solutions.
As announced in a recent Memorandum of Understanding, Bill Gates and the European Commission have agreed to set up Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE). This new investment fund will consist of EUR 100 million and is to be funded equally by Gates‘ Breakthrough Energy Coalition and InnovFin, a European Investment Bank (EIB) financial tool aiming to reach the Horizon 2020 goal. According to the Commission, the fund will be ready for launch in 2019.
Fund should fuel renewable energy growth
“Europe must continue to take the lead in tackling climate change head on, at home and across the world. We must push for the modernization of Europe’s economy and industry in order to meet the ambitious targets put in place to protect our planet,” Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said.
In order to help reach this goal, the new fund shall support innovative renewable energy companies with their penetration of the European market. Eventually, the idea is to reduce greenhouse gases in electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings.
Fund is offshoot of Breakthrough Energy Coalition
Breakthrough Energy Europe will be an offshoot of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which is supporting a clean energy transition in general and in the U.S. in particular, pledging to fuel the country‘s renewable sector with USD 1 billion.
It will be mainly new and innovative companies who benefit from the Breakthrough Energy Europe fund. In order to qualify they will need to be able to attract external investors and present a strong business plan. The fund will also push so-called „ultra low-cost solar“ in an attempt to fuel the clean energy transition.
Coalition wants to find new technologies and energy storage solutions
Both parties agree that the solar industry has come a long way in the recent past, especially given that the LCOE has been lowered to USD 0.05/kWh in various locations. However, a further push is needed, or so Breakthrough says. Hence the coalition wants to invest in technologies that are in a “new generation of transformational technologies, beyond what we have today”.
Furthermore, the coalition intends to support energy storage research and development, as this would support the EU’s plans to create a world-leading market for battery production lines. This support will partly consist of finding new alternatives to lithium-ion batteries, as this will benefit both the environment and the society.